Smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and overall survival from non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A population-based study

Susan M. Geyer, Lindsay M. Morton, Thomas M. Habermann, Cristine Allmer, Scott Davis, Wendy Cozen, Richard K. Severson, Charles F. Lynch, Sophia S. Wang, Matthew J. Maurer, Patricia Hartge, James R. Cerhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Smoking, alcohol use, and obesity appear to increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but to the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have assessed their impact on NHL prognosis. METHODS: The association between prediagnosis cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and body mass index (BMI) and overall survival was evaluated in 1286 patients enrolled through population-based registries in the United States from 1998 through 2000. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated using Cox regression, adjusting for clinical and demographic factors. RESULTS: Through 2007, 442 patients had died (34%), and the median follow-up for surviving patients was 7.7 years. Compared with never smokers, former (HR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.12-2.26) and current (HR, 1.50; 95% CI, 0.97-2.29) smokers had poorer survival, and poorer survival was found to be positively associated with smoking duration, number of cigarettes smoked per day, pack-years of smoking, and shorter time since quitting (all P <0.01). Alcohol use was associated with poorer survival (P = 0.03); compared with nonusers. Those drinking >43.1 g/week (median intake among drinkers) had poorer survival (HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.06-2.27), whereas those drinkers consuming less than this amount demonstrated no survival disadvantage (HR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.75-1.71). Greater BMI was associated with poorer survival (P = 0.046), but the survival disadvantage was only noted among obese individuals (HR, 1.32 for BMI ≥30 vs BMI 20-24.9; 95% CI, 1.02-1.70). These results held for lymphoma-specific survival and were broadly similar for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. CONCLUSIONS: NHL patients who smoked, consumed alcohol, or were obese before diagnosis were found to have a poorer overall and lymphoma-specific survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2993-3000
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2010


  • Alcohol
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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